Interesting facts about our winter works

Open days aren't new to us - but if you're a newcomer, here are some interesting stats from our 2017/18 winter works programme.

Engineers moving lock gates into place in a drained lock pound Replacing lock gates
  • Over autumn and winter we will have spent £38m on repairing, restoring and maintaining 2000 miles of waterways. 
  • The annual cost to clean up litter last year was just under £900,000, with London costing more than half million.
  • Our canals and rivers are enjoyed by the 33,000 boats that use the network and 12m towpath visitors each year.
  • The £38m winter maintenance programme will provide thousands of visitors the rare chance to go behind-the-scenes and venture into the bottom of drained lock chambers and aqueducts giving the opportunity to see up close some of the finest examples of working industrial heritage in the world.
  • Many of the biggest projects are carried out during the winter months to minimise the impact on waterway users. This year, essential maintenance will include the replacement of worn-out lock gates and repairs to aqueducts, reservoirs and tunnels.
  • Each lock gate is hand-crafted by a skilled team of carpenters and made from sustainably-sourced British oak. 
  • Did you know that every lock gate is a different size which is why each one is made to a bespoke specification?
  • A single lock gate weighs on average 3.6 tonnes, can take up to 20 days to make and has a working life of 25-30 years.
  • This year’s maintenance programme will see over 200 different stoppages take place across our 2,000 miles across England and Wales.
  • Last year nearly 10,000 visitors came to venture into our drained locks and structures to learn about the works we do and why.

Last date edited: 11 July 2018